Beginners Guides

What is e-liquid?

Everything you probably wanted to know about juice.

Share on:

E-liquids are also known as e-Juice or just ‘juice’. Warning: do not try to vape ‘Just Juice’.

E-liquid typically contains 4 components

  • Vegetable Glycerine
  • Propylene Glycol
  • Nicotine
  • Flavouring

Some e-Liquids also contain distilled water to thin it down or added alcohol like vodka to increase the throat hit.

Juices do not contain oil.


What is the throat hit?

As you take in the vape ‘throat hit’ is the term given to the feeling at the back of the mouth, some vapers like a pronounced hit while others a smoother one.

The hit of a juice is usually linked to the level of nicotine in the juice; in order to replicate this for low-nic juices manufacturers need to get clever.


PG - Propylene Glycol

PG is a clear liquid without a noticeable smell, it is the part of the juice that usually carries the flavour.

It is declared it safe for use by the FDA as a preservative in foods, healthcare and beauty products. It can be found in skin wash, shampoo and toothpaste. The UK medical regulation declares PG safe to use in inhalers, nicotine replacement therapies and other medical health products swallowed, injected or spread on the skin.

Medical research has confirmed that it does not have any effect on heart cells or the action of the arteries.

Some people have a PG allergy that can show itself as a rash, skin puffiness or slight breathing difficulties. This can be reduced through increased hydration or switching to a higher % VG juice.


VG - Vegetable Glycerine

VG is made from plants and has a slightly sweet smell/taste. Although PG produces vape it’s the VG that produces most of the ‘cloud’ during vaping; those entering ‘Cloud-chasing’ competitions use high VG juices.

VG is used in a range of products approved to medical and food standards including cough medicines, suppositories, soaps, shampoos and especially in low-fat food.



Nicotine is a naturally occurring substance found in plants, similar to caffeine in coffee beans and tea leaves. There are high levels of nicotine in aubergines, potatoes, tomatoes and cauliflower.

It has a stimulant effect which promotes alertness, relaxation and a sense of calm. Because nicotine also reduces a person’s appetite doctors are looking at it as a method to combat obesity.

Medical research has shown nicotine to prevent a range of ailments including Kaposi’s sarcoma, bowel ulcers, preeclampsia and allergic asthma. Research is currently looking at using nicotine to prevent and treat Alzheimer’s disease, delay the onset of Parkinson’s disease and help adults suffering from nocturnal frontal lobe epilepsy seizures. Nicotine can be an effective treatment of depression and is undergoing clinical trials to help adults with acute OCD.

Nicotine is a toxin, a poison when taken in excess, which means that it has the potential to hurt small children and pets. Ensure that you store bottles of e-Liquid in secure containers or high out of reach.



Flavourings used in the manufacture of e-Liquid are generally food flavourings but some are oil-based flavourings – these are dangerous to vape and no competent juice manufacturer will use them.

Diacetyl is added to some flavours to give them a creamier taste. Again, this is to be avoided and you will see that some vendors advertise their liquids as being diacetyl-free.

No vendor will let you in on the actual recipe for a flavour but reputable ones will put your mind at rest over the ingredients used and all juice bottles should list the % contents.


What level of nicotine do I need?

It all depends on how much you used to smoke.

12mg juice is seen as a low-medium level while 18mg is a medium-high. Some people are happy at that level whereas others need to vape 24mg juices or higher.

Like with most things in the vaping world, there is no right answer, look upon the journey of discovery as an adventure.


What mix of PG and VG do I need?

This is also up to you; most liquids come in 50/50, 60/40 or 70/30 ratios and almost everyone can vape them all. Some people have a slight allergy to the PG part of juice and need to seek out VG heavy or all-VG juices.

VG is thicker than PG so the more VG there is in your liquid the more vape it will produce but will wick more slowly. If you experience dry hits with a high VG juice you may need to take fewer vapes, pause or learn how to alter your wick.


E-Liquid problems

Some e-liquid ingredients can cause cracking, frosting or melting of plastic or tanks.

Absinthe, cinnamon, banana, spearmint, citrus and cola liquids can cause this damage and should be used in a Pyrex or metal tank.


Who makes the best juice? What are the best flavours?

We are, apart from the one person in the Life Of Brian crowd, a collection of individuals.

Check out our list of e-liquids and keep reading the Planet of the Vapes forum and you will pick up loads of tips.

Toby Kilroy avatar

Toby Kilroy

Writer at POTV
View Articles

Toby has been vaping since early 2012 and has used an array of devices and kit in that time. He sometimes writes up reviews but is often found with his head stuck in pages of code with a confused smile on his face. Toby also helps run his wife's site and has two children. He sometimes fondly remembers having free time and occasionally manages to sneak away to put his head into a good book!

Join the discussion

Beginners Guides

Guidelines for Successfully Quitting Smoking with Nicotine Pouches

Nicotine pouches are not only a great way to get rid of aggressive smoking habits, but a substitute for smoking as well. Let’s discuss these nicotine pouches and how you can use them to successfully get rid of your chain-smoking practices.

Beginners Guides

The POTV Guide To Batteries

The POTV guide to batteries aims to answer all of your questions regarding lithium-ion cells for vaping

Beginners Guides

The POTV Guide to the Politics of Vaping

This guide looks at the laws that control what, how and where we vape as well as introducing the groups, charities and organisations that work to influence government policy

Beginners Guides

Can Pregnant Women Use Ecigs?

There are compelling reasons to quit smoking when pregnant, but should expectant mothers switch to vaping?